Police officer's suicide after responding to Jan. 6 Capitol riot declared in line of duty death
The declaration comes following a months-long battle by the officer's widow.
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The District of Columbia has reportedly ruled the suicide death of a city police officer who killed himself after responding to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot death "in the line of duty."
The revised ruling by the D.C. Police and Firefighters’ Retirement and Relief Board will make the widow, Erin Smith, and family of Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jeffrey Smith eligible for benefits, according to CNN.
The change was request by Smith's widow, in a months-long legal battle with the board, after her husband took his life several days after the riot.
The board now says Smith "sustained a personal injury on January 6, 2021, while performing his duties and that his injury was the sole and direct cause of his death," vacating the previous denial of survivor benefits, according to CNN.
There is no known previous case in which the suicide of the Metropolitan Police officer has been declared a line of duty death, the news outlet also reports.
Smith's widow will now be granted an annual figure equal to her late husband's salary.
Smith's attorney produced a video that showed her husband being assaulted by a mob and hit in the head with a metal pole during.
Officer Smith shot himself in the head nine days later as he drove to work.
"At the beginning, we didn’t know what happened to Officer Smith," said the widow's attorney, David Weber. "We took the evidence from the autopsy, expert witnesses, body camera footage and federal subpoenas to prove that Jeff suffered a traumatic brain injury on January 6."
Weber told CNN: "While the bullet may have been the actual cause of death, the chain of events was set in motion January 6 and the chain was not broken."
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